The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Vs. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
The two films The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief are from the same year (2010), the same genre (fantasy), the same film studio (Disney), and have many fundamental similarities. However, they have many more technical differences that put them leagues apart in quality.
Both movies merge action and fantasy and appealed to a broad spectrum of ages and interests. They both used the tried and true ‘misfit becomes hero’ formula; both the heroes of the movies, Percy Jackson and Dave Stutler, were always different from the people around them and many times questioned their own sanity because of unexplainable circumstances their unique gifts led to. Interestingly, both characters were from New York City, too.
The Lightning Thief, based on Rick Riordan’s New York Times bestseller series*, came out in February 2010. Starring in it were Logan Lerman and Pierce Brosnan. The movie got a lot of hype because of the large fan base the book series has. Taken completely aside from the fact that it deviated from the book, the movie was overall very disappointing, especially when compared to The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The special effects were rather poor, especially scenes that could have been so much more visually stunning. The plot wasn’t well conveyed and often relied on random humor to keep you interested. A pet peeve of mine is when you can obviously tell people are ‘acting’. There were a lot of scenes where the actors didn’t express enough emotion to convince you of the story. The intensity and action were inconsistent throughout, and the romance between Percy Jackson (Lerman) and Annabeth Chase (Alexandra Daddario) was unconvincing. The ending was semi-satisfying, but left you wanting a sequel just to more strongly conclude it.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice came out three months later in July. Starring in it were Nicholas Cage and Jay Baruchel. It was based off of a clip from a Disney Fantasia video. The special effects were incredible and very well-done, especially considering how many parts with animals they had in it, along with a very realistic dragon. The story was conveyed well and very smoothly. The actors reacted realistically to events and kept everything both believable and enjoyable. The action was consistent, and the humor was witty and well distributed throughout the movie. Dave Stutler’s (Baruchel) relationship with Becky Barnes (Teresa Palmer) developed believably and both of them were a little bit awkward, which was a fun relief from the stereo-typical movie couple. The ending was gratifying, but also left hints that might someday lead to a sequel of some sort.
Every movie needs good plot, good characters, good action, and, yes, good romance. Overall, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice much more satisfyingly delivered on every level than The Lightning Thief. Certain scenes in The Lightning Thief were truly fantastic, particularly the scene in the Lotus Casino, and certain elements of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice were disappointing, and the plot could have been more thoroughly developed. Taken as a whole, while I enjoyed both movies, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was much more enchanting and thrilling, and it’s one that I could easily watch again and again.
*Note: I made every effort to honestly assess the movie Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, which was overall disappointing, but this review was not written to the effect that the movie didn’t do the books justice, but expresses my actual feelings about the movie on its own. I would just like to say, however, now that the essay is done, that the book series by Rick Riordan is amazing beyond all reason, and no, the movie did NOT do it justice.